A single parent’s guide to surviving the silly season

by Leo Wiles
01 December 2017

Nothing makes me pour a glass of wine faster than the thought of the school holidays, all six weeks of them, at Christmas.

It’s why I’m already reaching for my month-to-a-view calendar to plan an enjoyable break for the whole family, and one where I am still able to earn an income without breaking the bank. My suggestions for survival are as follows…

1.    Run up the white flag and let regular clients know that you won’t be taking on any big / new / time-sensitive projects until Jan 22 2018 but are happy to do smaller jobs or one-offs.

2.    Go into pull-up mode working late nights in the run-up to school ending. That way, when you’re home with the kids you can be present and not an increasingly frustrated ogre.

3.    Map out a little oasis of work by arranging playdate swaps, potential sleepovers at the grandparents or paid childcare to plug the gaps. It’ll help keep your business afloat.

4.    Keep it mean and financially lean by holding a family brainstorming session and write out a list of free / inexpensive activities for the Boredom Jar (my Pinterest board has some ideas). That way when you’re on deadline there’s less sulking and a lot of things to look forward to.

5.    Rope in an adult friend to share the load so there’s two of you to supervise craft and to make sure no-one drowns at the beach. Oh, and you’ll also have a pal to clink glasses with of an evening.

6.    Plan a home schooling day where you teach your friends’ children and yours how to write a short story, take and edit an iPhoto or cook a meal. Then swap with a friend who also has mad skillz (think sushi making, sewing or plaster crafts!).

7.    Make a snack attack shelf in the fridge and pantry for DIY nibbles – that way you won’t be interrupted 14 times a day to keep those little bellies full. (Although I do prefer to supervise the blender as cleaning up smoothie from the walls and ceiling takes longer than making them.)

8.    Take a breath and be grateful that it’s the holidays even if it means more work for you. The silver lining is you’ve got a break from the constant groundhog existence of making school lunches and ferrying the kids around to karate, gymnastics, horse-riding and so on.

What do you do to survive school holidays?

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.
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